Founded a year and a half ago in San Francisco, Cater2Me quickly found its niche feeding the ravenous techies of Silicon Valley, nabbing clients like Dropbox, Square and Klout. “You can call it the Google effect, if you want,” cofounder Alex Lorton told Betabeat, and “that idea is becoming the norm in New York, as well.”
Hence the company’s decision to expand to New York City. The service just launched yesterday, but it sounds like Mr. Lorton is already halfway to going out for the cheerleading team.
“I think it’s cool to be part of the expansion of Silicon Alley, to use the phrase, to be part of that startup community,” he said. “People in startups are, I think, more willing to embrace something that’s new, something that’s initially not as tested.”
Well, hopefully it’s not that untested.
He also expects to have a leg up with the financial sector, as Mr. Lorton and his cofounder did tours of duty in consulting and banking, respectively. (He didn’t have anything to say about financiers’ appetite for untested ventures, however.)
Asked about their competitive advantage, Mr. Lorton basically just told us that he’s bonkers about food: “We go out and we follow the food blogs religiously and we are constantly looking for the highest quality and the most interesting things,” he said. Seamless, for example, can’t match that, he argues: picking from the wide variety and knowing the chosen vendor can handle spiraling headaches like service elevator snafus are real challenges for the poor non-foodie coordinator likely charged with ordering.
He expects the city will be logistically more difficult. Then there’s the fact that Seamless is the market leader. “There’s just more things vying for people’s attention here,” he said. Nevertheless, he has high hopes for New York and expects they’ll be serving 20,000 to 30,000 meals
a month* a week by the end of the year. (They’re currently at “well over” 70,000 in San Francisco.)
They might have to borrow a few coolness points from their startup clients, though: Mr. Lorton told us they’re working out of an office in… East Midtown.
As denizens of the Times Square area, Betabeat sympathizes.
*Updated: This article originally stated that Mr. Lorton predicted Cater2Me would be serving 20,000 to 30,000 meals per month; Mr. Lorton reached out to let us know he anticipated they’d be doing that many meals per week. Betabeat regrets the error.